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S&P 500 jumps as Washington closes in on debt-ceiling agreement, tech rallies

Investing.com -- The S&P 500 jumped Friday as negotiators in Washington inched closer to a debt-ceiling agreement that is needed to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt payments.

The S&P 500 was up 1.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%, or 343 points, the Nasdaq added 2.3%.

Republican and White House negotiators appear closer than ever to a breakthrough in debt-ceiling talks after narrowing on a potential deal that seeks to raise the debt limit and cap federal spending for two years through 2024, according to media reports.

“[W]e think the odds are highest that a deal is announced late Friday (May 26) or on Saturday (May 27),” Goldman Sachs said. “If so, this would likely allow a House vote late Tuesday (May 30) or Wednesday (May 31).”

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The spending caps under the emerging agreement do not appear likely to “meaningfully affect the macroeconomic outlook,” it added.

The growing optimism of a breakthrough on debt-ceiling talks bolstered investor sentiment on stocks even as stronger consumer spending and inflation data tipped the scales in favor of a June rate hike.

Monthly personal spending rose 0.8% in April, topping economists' estimates of 0.4%, while core PCE rose 0.4% and also came in hotter than expected.

“The stronger-than-expected showing in price pressures and consumer spending will make it increasingly more difficult for the Fed to pause in June,” Sitfel said in a note.

About 70% of traders now expect the Fed to hike rates in June, compared with just 15% last week, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

Treasury yields rose in anticipation of further hikes, but that did little to dent optimism in interest rate sectors of the market including tech and consumer discretionary.

Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) pushed big tech higher, while Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were the biggest gainers in consumer discretionary.

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) gained 5% after the electric vehicle maker announced a partnership with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) that would allow the latter access to its Superchargers in the U.S. and Canada.

Tech was also helped by a second day of strong gains in semiconductor stocks. NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) added to its rally from a day earlier, while Marvell Technology Group Ltd (NASDAQ:MRVL) surged 30% after estimating that revenue growth from artificial intelligence would at least double in fiscal 2024.

Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) was also a big winner on the earnings front, rallying 13% after its quarterly results, released Thursday, showed improving margins.

“[W]e believe that management execution within the core Old Navy banner is beginning to improve with better assortments and an improvement in market share gains in women’s and baby,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA), meanwhile, fell 13% after the beauty retailer’s cut to its margin outlook offset first-quarter results that beat on both the top and bottom lines.

Still, the plunge in stock could prove short-term pain but long-term gain, UBS says, estimating that Ulta Beauty "will resume an upward trajectory over the course of the year…as the market sees signs that it can maintain its double-digit EPS algo for an extended period."

In other news, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) gained 1% as the Wall Street bank reportedly cut about 500 jobs this week, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.

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